The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Prostitution should be legalized

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Debate Round Forfeited
philosophicalnutcase has forfeited round #3.
Our system has not yet updated this debate. Please check back in a few minutes for more options.
Time Remaining
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/22/2018 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 351 times Debate No: 115910
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (3)
Votes (0)




There is no crime without a victim. That's the universal moral rule. And in the United States, our laws are made to comply with indisputable morality- not religious/cultural morality (if the Amish made law, we'd have quite a different dress code) not subjective morality (vegans would have banned meat). Prostitution, however, is not inherently wrong except religiously, culturally, or individually. If one is forced or coerced into it, of course it is a heinous crime but that's not sex work- that's sexual trafficking. As long as there's no gray area, the worker gives clear consent, it is not the governments job to police his/her moral code or his/her body. It's a private matter, inapplicable to others. It's illogical to permit both commerce and sex but give jailtime when the two collide.

On top of that, the criminalization of sex work can be dangerous to the workers- it can make it much more difficult to get out of the business if they choose to, as the cycle of jailtime, court, and recidivism creates financial trouble and vulnerability. Sex worker suicides are incredibly high, especially in situations of arrest, and the stigma of sex work caused by lawmakers makes it hard to reach out.

Lastly, according to the Prostitution Act of 1996, no law has ever prevented or at all significantly manipulated statistics of sex work. Anti-prostitution laws are outdated, authoritarian, dangerous, and illogical in any form.


Thanks to my opponent for proposing this topic and I look forward to debating this resolution.

I negate the resolution, "Prostitution should be legalized."

My opponent's argument begins with the assertion that "no victim, no crime" is a "universal moral principle." However, he has cited no sources to back up that assertion; people of his persuasions generally hold that moral principles are subjective and personal. So what right does a minority of society have a right to impose libertarian ethics on the majority of a society? His argument makes no sense regardless of what religious beliefs he subscribes to -- if there is no God, then ethics are subjective, personal, and/or based on what is best for society/majority rule, and prostitution is opposed by the majority of society and is detrimental to society. If there is a God, then His commands should be followed, and prostitution obviously does not comply with the sexual morality that the Bible teaches. To conclude, a majority of the world does NOT hold to libertarian ethical principles, and there is nothing to support the claim that his view of ethics are even close to “universal.”

Even assuming that without a “victim” there is no crime, prostitution has many victims, from the prostitutes themselves who are placed in an exploitative market, to the relationships which are destroyed by it, to the victims crime that it brings, to the moral principles that it flounts.

To respond to the assertion that “stigma” causes the suicide of “sex workers”, there have been no sources cited for that claim except for the “Prostitution Act of 1996” which is apparently a proposed law on a pro-prostitution website. Even if so, prostitution, as an act which contradicts the fundamental moral values of essentially all cultures not to mention the objective moral values, ought to have “stigma” attached to it, just like adultery and many other sexual acts of misconduct.

The fact that anti-prostitution laws have not prevented all prostitution is not an argument to repeal those laws, in fact, it may be an argument to increase the penalties. Again, the only source cited is a “Prostitution Act of 1996” which links to a biased website advocating for legal prostitution. While there is always going to be “shady” enterprise operating under the shadows, that is not an argument for legalizing that activity, which would make the situation even worse.

Debate Round No. 1


We need some basis to our law. Otherwise, we're spending billions of dollars and energy locking incarcerating without purpose. If an activity does not bring any to harm another person nor the country, then it is not the business of the state's. It is not the business of the state's to dictates one's personal boundaries and moralities when the only thing at stake is that person's perception of themselves, which can vary quite a bit, culturally/religiously. Morals are subjective in some cases, but universally, harming someone (including yourself) is wrong. But it is up to the person being affected to decide whether the action brings harm to them, and in many cases, sex workers don't view their work as harmful to themselves. As long as this is the case, there is no breach of ethics.

Law should never be based on subjective immorality, (sex work, eating meat, being modest) but instead cold, hard irrefutable immorality (rape, murder, stealing). Law should also not be dictated by the bible, as you implied. We are a free country, not a theocracy, and separation of church and public state is a necessity.

And when you say prostitutes are victims, you're not thinking of prostitutes, but of sex trafficking victims. As long as it's 100% consensual and complys with their personal moral code, they are not vicitms.

Anti-prostitution laws do not prevent prostitution. They prevent sex workers from getting help in abusive situations, they prevent sex workers from changing to a more socially-acceptable career, they cause worker suicides (The Star, Politifact) and contribute to mass incarceration and the wasting of tax payer money.

Also, in cases of virtually every law that is not prevented by criminalization, increasing punishment has never affected rates, just placed the ethics of law enforcement in question. Severity of punishment should be based on severity of crime, not high statistics. And, again, prostitution is not inherently wrong unless in a cultural or religious context.


Prostitution should not be legalized because it is immoral and, aside from that, harms the fabric of society. There is no established right, in any culture aside from libertarian academic circles, to do whatever a person wants with their body such as prostitution. The state can and should prevent activities like prostitution that are detrimental to normal relationships, lead to the spread of disease, and cause additional crime. In the United States, the roles and purposes of government are spelled out by the Constitution, which through the Tenth Amendment allows the states to regulate any activity not reserved for the federal government or protected through the Bill of Rights. Clearly, prostitution is not protected by the Constitution. The only remaining question is whether it is good public policy to legalize prostitution. The answer is no.

I do not see any difference between what my opponent characterizes as "subjective" and "objective" immorality. If whether something is moral is determined by one's own "personal moral code", then why could "rape, murder [and] stealing" not be moral simply if a person considered it to be so?The distinction of whether an action directly harms others is not valid because other people can be harmed by actions which are not directly targeted at them. See speeding for example. It is illegal to speed because of the potential that SOMEONE could be injured in an accident. Speeding is not a direct infringement of a specific person's rights like murder or stealing, but it is illegal because of the aggregate negative effect that it has by causing increased traffic injuries and fatalities. The same is true about many other laws, including laws against prostitution.

I did not say that theocracy is the best form of government. I used the fact that the Bible obviously opposes prostitution to refute my opponent's claim that anything which is consensual is moral, and that this principle is the "universal moral rule." Of course, if the most influential faith in human history opposes something, it obviously is not universally held. That is not to say that there are not SOME people who believe as my opponent does. But it is not a universal, or even a majority, position. (Not that it would matter for the purposes of this debate.)

Ultimately, it does not matter if you consider prostitution to be immoral (it is). But if you truly want a secular society where laws are based solely on their social impact, then prostitution should still be illegal. Many prostitutes *are* victims because they end up in a situation where it is the only thing they can do to make enough money to survive. Aside from that, prostitution has negative effects on society such as damage to relationships and spread of crime/diseases. Prostitution should remain illegal.
Debate Round No. 2
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 3
This round has not been posted yet.
This round has not been posted yet.
Debate Round No. 4
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
You could have directly challenged me. I would have accepted
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
just saw the comment in the last debate.
Posted by Anonymous 3 years ago
OMG dloos121 you don't need to provide fuckin sources to make a moral point. You can't out fact each other when it comes to ethics- seriously
This debate has 2 more rounds before the voting begins. If you want to receive email updates for this debate, click the Add to My Favorites link at the top of the page.

By using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use.